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NVL 02 W — Write a Novel in a Month: No Critics, No Fear

Quarter: Spring
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 5 weeks
Date(s): May 7—Jun 8
Drop Deadline: May 10
Unit: 1
Tuition: $330
Instructor(s): Scott Hutchins, Malena Watrous
Limit: 125
Status: Open
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 5/10 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 5/15 at 5:00 pm (PT). 
May 7—Jun 8
5 weeks
Drop By
May 10
1 Unit
Scott Hutchins, Malena Watrous
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 5/10 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 5/15 at 5:00 pm (PT). 
Is it possible to write a novel in a month? With a healthy dose of determination and the support of this course: yes. In the five weeks of this course, we will set out together to write a short novel, with the goal of getting from start to finish, going with the flow of our creativity, knowing that we will need to revise later on. This process will be generative, playful, and necessarily uncritical. In the first week, we will do some planning and plotting, revving our engines. Then, for the next four weeks, each weekday, your goal will be to write 1,500 words. To that end, you will receive daily prompts to get and keep you rolling, and “flash lessons” in different aspects of the novel writing craft, to put to use as you do your daily writing. Students won’t post the majority of their writing, but there will be a daily accountability thread and the option of joining small groups to share as much as your small group wishes for support and light feedback. Each week, you will also have the option to complete a planning exercise or post a short piece of your novel (up to 500 words per week) for instructor feedback.

Because of the high-enrollment capacity of the course, the instructors will provide models for feedback and answer general questions about the novel planning and writing processes. They will respond to one short assignment per student, per week. Students will offer and receive feedback in small groups. Students looking for a full-term online course with instructor-led workshop components should consider NVL 09 W: “Writing the Novel from Back to Front” or NVL 18 W: “Discovering Your Novel’s Secret Center.”

Students may take NVL 01 W: “Planning Your Novel: Starting from Scratch” and NVL 02 W: “Write a Novel in a Month: No Critics, No Fear” as a two-part series, using the first part to plan the book that they will then draft in the second part; or they can enroll in either course independently. NVL 01 W is not a prerequisite for NVL 02 W.

Scott Hutchins, Former Stegner Fellow; Jones and Draper Lecturer in Creative Writing, Stanford; Online Writing and Certificate Program Curriculum Coordinator, Stanford Continuing Studies

Scott Hutchins’s debut novel, A Working Theory of Love, was a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2012. His work has appeared in StoryQuarterly, FiveChapters, The Rumpus, The New York Times, San Francisco magazine, and Esquire. He received two Hopwood awards and the Andrea Beauchamp Prize in short fiction. Hutchins teaches fiction, nonfiction, graphic novel, arts writing, and “Twitter Fiction/Future Forms” in Stanford’s Creative Writing Program.

Malena Watrous, Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford; Online Writing Lead Instructor, Stanford Continuing Studies

Malena Watrous is the author of the novel If You Follow Me, which received a Michener-Copernicus award. She frequently reviews books for such publications as The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. She received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Chris Baty, No Plot? No Problem! (ISBN 978-1-4521-2477-3)